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Paula Deen's Troubles are Bigger Than a Racial Slur

Paula Deen apologizes

Celebrity chef Paula Deen has been in hot water lately and can't seem to get herself out of it. Her latest troubles stem from an employment discrimination, racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit brought by former employee, Lisa T. Jackson.

Media coverage of the lawsuit took off when Ms. Deen admitted to using the word "nigger". Other allegations in the deposition seemed to take a back seat to that. I was surprised Ms. Deen was honest in her answer because many people lie and take the pious, holier-than-thou route.

Of course Ms. Deen mentioned that she'd heard blacks use that word. Now, being black myself, I don't like when anyone uses it. I chalk it up to ignorance, lack class and lack of vocabulary. I can't join the club of blacks that basically says "we can use that word but they can't". It's also not a label of affection if it ends in "a" or "-ah" rather than "-er".

That being said, way more offensive was her talk of a "southern style plantation wedding" replete with servers that reminded Ms. Deen of The Civil War period. Ms. Deen did try to clean up her explanation but it seemed the more she did, the worse it got.

There was also mention of testimony of another former employer that Bubba Hiers, Paula Deen's brother, told Lisa Jackson to keep the front 'light' when hiring. Wow. That means blacks and other dark-skinned people were welcome to work in the kitchen but not as servers, managers, etc. in the front of the restaurant.

Ms. Deen was a no-show for an interview with Matt Lauer on Friday's Today Show. She did release a couple of videos apologizing for her how her words hurt other people.

The Food Network chose to not to renew the contract for Ms. Deen's show which expires this month. If you also agree with that decision, before you jump up for joy, remember that memory of such racial episodes tend to be short lived, especially with most black people. As with similar instances involving Dog the Bounty Hunter and Don Imus, so Paula Deen could return to television soon.